East Blaxland Newsagency closes its doors

Morris and Nancy Coates won't miss 31 years of early starts, but they will miss the community.

On Sunday, September 29, the owners of East Blaxland Newsagency will shut the doors for the very last time. Mrs Coates, 71, will retire full time, and Mr Coates, 72, is moving to semi-retirement.

In the newsagent's place there will be a bottleshop featuring craft beer and local wine, where daily papers will be available. Mr Coates will stay on to work behind the lotteries counter part-time.

In the final days, East Blaxland Newsagency was beginning to look a little bare, as all remaining stock was slowly sold off and stripped from the shelves.

Customers were popping in to buy their last few newspapers and say their final farewells.

"They are akin to your local country pub," said Jason Blackmore from East Blaxland. "They do so much for the community."

It's the community Mrs Coates will miss the most.

"We've seen a lot of people come and go," she said.

"We've seen babies grow up and bring their children here."

The couple bought in Mt Riverview 45 years ago and decided to open the newsagency after running two coffee shops in the old Penrith Plaza.

"We decided to slow down and have a small shop here. The plan was to learn off this one and get something bigger," Mr Coates said.

The moving to "something bigger" never quite happened, as they built the shop into a busy little business.

Mr Coates only gave up early morning paper deliveries to East Blaxland and Mt Riverview four years ago, when the job was taken over by Sydney contractors.

For the previous 27 years, he'd been up at 3am delivering daily papers several days a week and then would spend a Friday and Saturday night preparing papers for delivery at midnight, not finishing the paper run until after 2am.

"For the first week [of semi-retirement] I mightn't be up before 11am," Mr Coates joked.

The couple have seen their fair share of excitement at the newsagent over the past three decades.

Four years ago they sold the winning ticket in a $2.5 million lottery jackpot, and at 1pm on Christmas Eve 2005 they were held up by a man with a knife. He demanded money from the till, stabbing Mr Coates in the face and repeatedly punching Mrs Coates. A customer rang 000, and police managed to catch up with the man not long after.

But the couple prefer to remember the good times.

"It's been a lot of fun," Mr Coates said. "We take the mickey out of the customer and they do the same in return."

The closest newsagent for Mt Riverview and East Blaxland residents will now be at Blaxland.

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